It all started back in November of 1976 when 16 teams took part in four divisions. It was the first time the WIAA hosted playoffs in the sport of football.
Forty years later, a field of 224 teams will begin tournament play on Friday in seven divisions. The football postseason has come a long way, and Arrowhead has been a regular participant throughout the transformation.
The WIAA went to five divisions in 1978, added a sixth in 1981 and a seventh in 2003.
Back in 1976, Arrowhead qualified for one of the four team berths in Class A. The Warhawks (9-0) were ranked as the top team in that division followed by Wisconsin Dells (9-0) in second, Clintonville (9-0) in third and Menomonee Falls East (8-2) in fourth.
The other classes that year were AA, B and C.
In the Class A field, Menomonee Falls upset the Warhawks in the first round by a 14-7 score in a game played at Oconomowoc. Clintonville blanked Wisconsin Dells in the other semifinal, 19-0. Falls eventually won the title by scoring a 12-7 win over Clintonville.
Arrowhead came into that game with Falls averaging almost 30 points per game. But neither team scored in the first half before Falls scored twice to take a 14-0 lead late in the fourth quarter.
The AHS offense, which turned the ball over three times, finally scored with 3:51 to play when quarterback Randy Dibb tossed an 18-yard touchdown pass to tight end John Kiltz, and when Rick Schramek added the extra point, the Warhawks were back in business, trailing 14-7.
Arrowhead, coached by Larry Reinhold, got the ball back one more time but couldn't convert, and Falls ended up running out the clock.
The AHS offense was held to its lowest point total of the season. The Warhawks managed to move the ball into Falls territory just twice all night. The Titans had the ball for 33 minutes in the game and the Warhawks had it for just 15 minutes.
Led by senior linebacker Bob Dewey, who forced two fumbles and recovered one, the Arrowhead defense kept the Warhawks in the game.
Members of that Arrowhead team were Dave Larson, Randy Dibb, Chris Vanden Heuvel, Doug McNeil, Jeep Albert, Dan Gutschenritter, Scott Golden, Randy Ford, Rick Bethke, Dean Olson, Steve Hollenbeck, Tom Platner, Lance Roberts, Mark Miller, Jim Schneider, Mark Ferris, Jim Seidl, Bob Dewey, Tom Hitchcock, Jay Iding, Phil Ridley, Bob Hackbart, Marty King, Terry Moon, Bob Daleiden, Jim Jelak, Rob Goll, Bob Gavahan, Dave Maahs, John Minor, Mike Becker, Mike Manke, Bill Knoten, Skip Storm, Dale Muehl, Randy Doman, Rick Smith, Chris Bowen, Rick Schramek, Tom Kinley, Bill Spade, Todd Matteson, John Kiltz, Dan Wolf and Tim Kinley.